We travel to the Crown Oil Arena (Spotland) in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday (4pm), just days after producing one of our most memorable European performances to come from 2-0 down to take a 2-2 draw against Juve in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg in Turin.
Sunday’s tie represents our first match against Rochdale, currently at the foot of League One, and Mauricio spoke about the players ‘reconnecting’ again after this week’s UCL efforts.
“It’s not easy to reconnect again after you play a massive game like Juventus, or the derby against Arsenal,” he said. “In a very short period we’ve played a lot of big games.
“Now it’s our responsibility to reconnect and think and feel that the game on Sunday is a big game too because it provides us with the opportunity to go to the quarter-final of the FA Cup.
“That is our challenge. We know very well that we need to stay at the same level of motivation as them, try to compete in our best way and try to win the game.”
Rochdale lost seven on the trot to slip to the bottom of League One – with plenty of games in hand – but they have been sparked by the FA Cup.
They ended a run of six without a win by beating Doncaster in round three and then draw at Championship Millwall in round four, winning the replay at Spotland. In-between, they picked up a league win at Northampton, although they lost last time out 3-2 at Bristol Rovers.
“We’ve watched different games and this is a team that tries to play football, they like to play,” said Mauricio.
“It’s difficult to say which way we are going to find Rochdale. Look at Newport - they drew against us, they competed very well (in the replay) at Wembley but last Tuesday they lost 5-0 (at Mansfield).
“We need to take the game seriously, to care about us and to be respectful with the competition.”
Finally, Mauricio had words of praise for Rochdale after they re-laid the pitch at Spotland.
“I saw a video and some pictures on Rochdale’s website and I congratulate them because they’ve worked very hard to try to fix that.
“I congratulate them for all the effort they have made to try to put the pitch in the best condition so football wins, the FA Cup wins, Rochdale win, Tottenham win and then, like always in football, the best team will win.”